Obeah, necromancy rampant in T&T

By Raffique Shah
May 27, 2007

Patrick Manning and Benny HinnAs I watch with amusement the pseudo-religious shenanigans of our leaders, I cannot help but thank my semi-literate parents for steering me away from superstition for as long as I can remember. That, in turn, led me to later rely on reason rather than religion for my spiritual sustenance. I know my mother would be happy had I embraced Islam the way the rest of my family did. But I am not sure my long-deceased father would have been too disappointed in me. He was religious to the extent that he believed in God and he attended mosque at least twice a year. But he was irreverent, and maybe smart, too, in that he never judged an imam by his purported knowledge of the Qu’ran or pronouncements from the pulpit, but by his every deed.

I recall my upbringing in the wake of what Benny Hinn is reported to have said about Prime Minister Patrick Manning being the “most foolish man” he has ever met. Hinn, whom I dubbed a fraud ever since I heard of him—and it matters not to me how many millions of fools follow him—claimed that Manning introduced him to a woman described as a “prophetess”, whatever that means.

At a time when Manning should be riding high in the political stakes a-coming, what with the opposition parties being leaderless and having little to offer by way of salvation, Manning’s own confused mind has given the latter humour-fodder for their political platforms. “He running the country by obeah!” they scream, as their supporters break out in gaffaws.

Why Manning, in spite or warnings from the more sober in the society, decided to grant Hinn direct access to the Prime Minister, is anybody’s guess. And his alleged need for a “prophetess” or “seer woman” to guide him spiritually (he has not so far denied Hinn’s claim), defies logic. It even defies faith. My limited knowledge of religion tells me that man does not need an intermediary to connect with God.

No religious text that I have read puts a priest or pundit or imam as the only person through whom one may communicate with God. And no mortal can offer anyone a passage to heaven, whatever fees he or she charges.

But in Trinidad, where so many people are gullible, they can be fleeced of their money and even their minds by self-anointed spiritual leaders. Hinn, on his first visit here, when thousands of “faithful” flocked the Savannah and danced in a sea of mud as he “healed” a few, pronounced then that Manning would be the next prime minister. At the time, if Manning had consulted with me, I could have told him that. For free. The Basdeo Panday regime was disgraced by widespread allegations of corruption, nepotism was rampant, things were falling apart for Bas. A blind man could see the UNC was in serious trouble. But that one pronouncement by Hinn made him an instrument of God in Manning’s eyes.

Lest readers believe that it is only Manning who flirts with this kind of foolishness, let me disabuse their minds “one time”, as we Trinis say. Remember Pastor “Trillionaire”?

Yeah, the same Lutchmansingh who convinced tens of thousands, politicians and the business elite among them, that he had inherited vast sums of money from some dead dude. Well guess what? Besides the greedy fools who parted with their money, willingly handing this man millions while they would spit on the needy, several politicians were grovelling at his feet. They trekked to Marabella to be blessed by this joker. I hope they turn up in court to lend him support now that he faces fraud charges.

Then there are several “gurus” who visit this country on a frequent basis, in whom these leaders repose all faith. If I call the names of those who sought private audiences with a certain “swami”, you’d think you are reading a “Who’s Who” of Trinidad. Christians included, eh.

Better still if I let you into the secret of what some wanted this holy man to do on their behalf, you’d puke. They know who they are, so they should be careful while “pelting boulders” at Patos from their platforms. If Manning is ruling by obeah, they are swimming in mysticism.

And if you want to know just how deep many icons of our art forms dabble in what Sparrow would deem “necromancy”, ask Chalkdust! His stories would make you choke with laughter. If Benny Hinn is such a great “healer”, maybe Manning can make him Minister of Health (sorry, John). That way we won’t need doctors and nurses and hospitals. One flat fee and everybody good to go! As for the alleged “prophetess”, let her tell the PM where the next murder or robbery will take place and he could fire the entire police service. Another “seer woman” claims to tell the future except she did not foresee bandits about to “put down wuk” on her. Jeezanages! How gullible can we be?

9 thoughts on “Obeah, necromancy rampant in T&T”

  1. Just for once, I would appreciate a comment from the leaders of official religious groups in TnT on this issue. When we were poor, before the seventies, few religious leaders came visiting and holding healing sessions, now we are awash in crime, faith-healers and various gurus. Would they still come if we were dirt poor? I doubt it.

  2. SEER-WOMEN AND SEER-MAN. What a topic to concentrate on in our corrupted country. Before we could address these so called nuthead ministers let us first focused on the children of our land. Please let us come to the conclusion that the churches should began to correct the MINISTERS, REVERENDS,GURUS, PUNDITS, PRIESTS and IMAMS. To think of these little ones who look for help when they in distressed by abusive parents.The churches are the place where one find comfort and peace of mind. If these people whome we look up for comfort and help use their churches or other religious places to lavish their sex life on the innocent ones then whom should we trust. Correction should begin from churches,mosques,temples,and offices. I am positive if the Prime Ministers and others believe in this so called OBEAH to run the country ask the SEER-WOMAN to change the whole of the country into a HOLLY PLACE where foreigners from different countries and state would look upon the HOLLY LAND OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO AS ONE BIG SHRINE. and a peaceful land.

  3. Nice one Raffie!
    I wish you wasnt so damn polite to Hinn and his kind.Keep you eye on he! When he stop commin to T&T you go see ah marked improvement in the place.

  4. People like Benny Hinn and the rest of religious pimps, yes religious pimps who prostitute the faith of the gullible ought to be prosecuted under British Commonwealth Laws for Obtaining Cash under False Pretence whenever they collect money during any faith healing crusade. Because that is in effect what they are doing. Under our system of Laws, when people are induced to part willingly with the property in their money, not merely its possession, through the medium of deception or fraud, the standard for that charge has been met. Start prosecuting their assess and let them use their powers to get out of prison.

    If what is said about Manning is true it proves that no amount of book learning can take the stupidee out of a person. And that is what we have in the Caribbean a plenty. A whole heap of leaders and others with plenty of book learning, but damn little real innate intelligence. Bun dem ass man.

  5. As usual Mr. Shah you have hit the nail on the head. Next time we would greatly appreciate some exposure (by hint or otherwise) of some of these persons.

    I leave you with this quote “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful” Seneca (1st Century Roman playwright).


  6. Every culture has layers of belief to which people subscrib. The case of the two people who were poisoned at the puja raised some of the same questions that Shah is raising in his piece, if only by implication. The original people of the land were not Christians, and today perhaps half of the people are. What do the others believe?
    If people have extraordinary powers, like Moses did in The Ten Commandments, should those powers be used for good or evil?

    It is a fact that when people are seeing ‘good times” religion plays a much lesser role in their lives than when things fall apart.

    All sorts of ancient belief systems exist in the Americas and no doubt they exist in TnT also. Yet people are reluctant to discuss these issues because their beliefs are “secret”. Some of the televangelical spiritualists hold forth on radio, TV and the public square, other religious ceremonies seem to be held secretly in houses, outside of the official worship in temple, mosque and church; or in the bush.
    If everyone was praying continuously for the good of all mankind, would there be the need for secret pujas, predictions by seers and prognostications by various and sundry persons? Would not, could not all prayers be held in public for everyone to participate? Does the power of prayer lie in its secrecy?

    Only in a place where the motto may be do him in before he gets a chance to do you in, which may well be the whole world, would people be harping on spirituality constantly, while their actions seems to suggest that spirituality is absent from their lives.

  7. if Mr. Hinn can heal so well why is he not going to the hospital that’s where the real sick people are? if they can’t come to him why don’t he go to them. From my reading jesus travel and heal a lot of sick where he went, the blind man.

  8. Tesfaye I agree with the second part of your comment. I am in the second category. ” By the wise as false”. If PM wanted to visit or consult a Seer Woman, what is wrong with that? There were other PM’s in Trinidad who did the same, perhaps the public just did not know about that.
    Come on now he is a person and he is entitled to believe in what he wants. If it works for him then there is no problem in that.
    Healers??? Put them to the test. If a person professes to be a healer, no problem with that. Get a genuinely ill person under medical supervision and let the healer heal. Then and only then can we say it works or not as the case may be. Until then let us not critize what we have no understanding about.
    I do not believe the PM is running Trinidad on the advice of a Seer.
    No one can dictate to anyone on how they worship or what they ought to believe in.
    Each one of us have the right of FREE choice. Just stick to that and do not TRY to impose on your fellow person.
    Instead of dwelling on these issues there are far more important issues to be addressed and dealt with in Trinidad & Tobago at this present time.

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